Frequently Asked Questions

2nd Story

Q:  Where does the name “2nd Story” come from?
A:  While it’s true that we got our start on the second floor of Webster’s Wine Bar, what our name really refers to are the stories that our audience tells each other after hearing our stories. We tell the first story to inspire you to tell each other the second story, whether in the time between storytellers, or that night when you get home, or some time the next day or week.

Q:  How is 2nd Story different from other reading series?
A:  One of the things we really enjoy about Chicago is the wealth of different reading series we have at our fingertips.  We are proud to be part of such a rich tradition of writing and storytelling. Each of the many reading series have their own flavor and specialization. What sets us apart is that our storytellers are telling stories from their own lives with the intention of connecting to something wider and more universal in the audience.  We work closely with our tellers to develop their stories and coach them on the performance aspects of their pieces.  We are interested in the crafting and production of the evening as a whole, and work with all of our collaborators to create an experience that is as fulfilling for the artists as it is for the audience.  When you work with 2nd Story, you are working with a group of professionals who have spent over ten years perfecting the aesthetic we are known for.

Q:  How is 2nd Story different from other theaters?
A:  The biggest difference is that at 2nd Story, we don’t consider ourselves primarily a theater.  While we have produced plays in the past, we no longer focus our energy there.  In the sense that theater is about telling stories and there is a performance aspect to what we do, there are similarities, but we’ve developed an aesthetic that is uniquely us.

Q:  So, are you a theater company, or a literary series, or what?
A:  We are not your traditional theater and we are not your average reading series.  2nd Story is a hybrid performance event combining storytelling, wine, and music.  Here’s more information about what to expect.

Q:  How do I become a storyteller/director/musician for a 2nd Story show? Where are your Submission Guidelines?
A:  We love working with new talent!  See our Tell a Story page if you want to tell a story with us, and our Work with Us page if you want to collaborate with us.

Q:  I’d love to learn how to tell a 2nd Story story, but I have no idea how to get started. Can you help?
A:  You bet we can. If you have a story to tell, we can help.  See our Training page for information on classes and workshops.

Q:  Is there an open mic?
A:  There is not.  While there are many reading series that have an open mic component, our events are specifically crafted for each show’s theme.

Q:  Can I write a story for 2nd Story, but have someone else perform it?
A:  What makes 2nd Story special is that our storytellers tell you their stories. They are sharing real experiences that happened to them.  If you write a story for us, we’d love to help you tell your own story.  Having said that, if you have some unusual circumstances, let’s talk.  Email us at info.

Q:  How do I suggest a theme for a future 2nd Story show?
A:  Each season, we choose an idea that we want to explore.  Then, we choose themes for individual events that help us delve deeper into that idea.  For this season, our idea is Know Thyself and our events are geared toward exploring the many facets of what that means.  If you have an idea or a theme you would like to see us explore in more depth, join us at an event and let us know.  We’re always interested in meeting the needs of our audience.

Q:  Does 2nd Story offer internships?
A:  We do.  Our interns work with us in many capacities.  If you’re interested, take a look here.

Q:  Does 2nd Story offer paid jobs?
A:  We have a very small staff that we pay.  Currently we are fully staffed.

Q:  Can I listen to 2nd Story stories online?
A:  You bet.  Check out our podcasts on our Listen page.  You can also subscribe to us on iTunes.

Q:  Can I read 2nd Story stories online?
A:  Read some of our previously performed 2nd Story pieces on our Read page.

Q:  How can I get 2nd Story to come to my favorite wine bar?
A:  We love performing in new spaces!  If you think there is a place that is perfect for our events, email us here and we’ll come check it out.

Q:  Is 2nd Story available to perform corporate events or private functions?
A:  Absolutely! See our Private Events page for more information.

Q:  I just love 2nd Story! How can I support you?
A:  We would love your support, in any form, whether in money, in goods, or in time.  See our Donate page.

Coming to a Show

Q:  Where do I park?
A:  There are several different venues where we have shows.  For the parking information on a specific venue, see the Shows by Venues page.

Q:  Tickets are sold out online. Can I get tickets at the door?
A:  In many cases, yes.  We always hold back a limited number of tickets for sale at the door.  They tend to go quickly so, again, arriving early is advisable.

Q:  I forgot to print out my ticket and I’m already on my way to the show! What do I do?
A:  No worries, just give your name when you check in with our box office host and you’ll be fine.

Q:  What happens if I show up late?
A:  No problem.  The structure of the evening is such that you can join at any point during the evening.  For many of our venues, however, seating is limited so the later you arrive, the more likely it is you might not get the seat you want.

Q:  Is there assigned seating?
A:  There is not assigned seating, generally.  It is more like going to a restaurant and sitting at an available table.  We are always looking for ways to make our seating arrangements more efficient and effective, but our best advice is to arrive early for the best seating.  Here’s some more information on What To Expect.

Q:  Do shows have an intermission?
A:  There are breaks between each story so you can go to the bathroom, talk with your table mates, do what you need to do.  We want you to be comfortable and enjoy your evening.

Q:  Is there a wait-list for sold-out shows?
A: Yes, if this show is sold out, you can come to the venue and put your name on the wait-list. We cannot guarantee seating, but we will try to accommodate our wait-listers.

Q:  Can I eat and drink during a show?
A:  Yes, please!  A huge part of the 2nd Story experience is sharing food and drink with friends.  Our venues have full drink and dinner menus that you are welcome to partake of throughout the evening.

Q:  What’s the dress code?
A:  Dress as if you were going out with friends for a bite to eat, maybe a glass of wine, good stories and good times…because that’s exactly what you’re doing!

Q:  Are shows family-friendly?
A:  While most of our venues are considered restaurants and are thus open to younger patrons, some of our shows do include mature issues and may not be appropriate for children or more sensitive listeners.

Q:  I’m a member of the media. How can I get more information?
A:  See our For Press page.